Podcast: Your Leader Is More Important Than Your Doctor

April 13, 2023
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

Did you know that the person you report to at work can be more important to your health than your family doctor?

That statement comes from the research of Dr. Casey Chosewood, the Director of the Office for Total Worker Health at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It sounds outrageous, but it underscores one of the profound truths we’ve discovered at Barry-Wehmiller: That the way we lead impacts the way people live.

Most leaders understand their influence on team members’ lives during work hours, but often enough, they don’t think about how their leadership affects those team members outside the workplace as well. And, that extends to the health and wellbeing of those team members. I talk often about workplace stress and the links between stress and health. Stress often leads to or exacerbates health issues, and what’s one of the leading causes of stress? Work!

The American Institute of Stress says that “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.”

I recently participated in a webinar hosted by the National Institute for Worker Safety and Health moderated by Dr. Chosewood. It was a discussion between myself and Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance―and What We Can Do About It. You can watch it here.

This podcast, is a companion to that webinar. It features an in-depth discussion with Dr. Chosewood about the links between the workplace and wellness. He talks about the Total Worker Health initiative and discusses the linkage between team member wellbeing and their supervisor.

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